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Forum in Kona Next Week on ACA Health Care Plans

October 7, 2013, 10:09 AM HST
* Updated October 7, 12:59 PM
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Key officials in Hawaii’s implementation of the Affordable Care Act will host a community health care forum on Tuesday, Oct. 15, at the Makaeo Pavilion at the Old Airport Park. The forum is scheduled from 5:30 to 8 p.m.

Tom Matsuda, implementation manager of the Affordable Care Act in Hawaii, and Coral Andrews, executive director of the Hawaii Health Connector, Hawaii’s new online health insurance marketplace, will be the main presenters.

Joining them will be state lawmakers from West Hawaii including Sen. Josh Green, a physician who will take part in a panel discussion with the ACA officials.

The event will be preceded by a briefing on the Hawaii Health Connector by various state agencies to be held this Wednesday at the state Capitol.

The Hawaii Health Connector , which was launched on Oct. 1, took in more than 1,000 applications for health insurance in its first few days of operations despite software problems that did not allow consumers to compare plans.

State officials said the comparisons of the plans being offered should be available by the end of the month.

“We continue to work collaboratively with both our state partners and health insurers to make certain that consumers will have access to accurate plan and rate information in a secure online marketplace,” Executive Director Andrews said in a statement. “Like many health marketplaces across the nation, we are working in earnest to add functionality in the coming days and weeks. When it comes to a family’s or small business’s budget and health care, we are focused on getting it right.”

The connector’s six-month open enrollment period runs through March 31. However, consumers must sign up by Dec. 15 to obtain insurance coverage that begins Jan. 1.

The state’s two largest health insurers, Hawaii Medical Service Association and Kaiser Permanente Hawaii, were the only companies to sign on to the exchange which was established in each state under the Affordable Care Act, which is also known as “Obamacare.”

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